Herbal Medicine for Cardiovascular Disease Treatment and Prevention

As a naturopathic doctor, it is so exciting to be able to offer many treatment options for addressing your health conditions. Herbal medicine is one tool that can produce wonderful results for your health. Unlike pharmaceuticals that usually have one very specific action, herbs often have many effects in the body at once. Today I want to give you an example for your cardiovascular health.

Hawthorn berry extract (Crataegus oxycantha) is a Chinese herb that has a long history of use as a medicinal food. Traditionally it has been used to treat gastrointestinal and cardiovascular problems. It is known to have cardioprotective effects through decreasing blood pressure, helping your heart have a healthy rhythm, and lowering blood lipids levels.

Hawthorn can decrease blood pressure by a similar mechanism as some of the common blood pressure medications, but in addition it is also an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti platelet aggregation (anti-clotting), anti-cardiac remodelling, vasodilator and helps your heart recover from ischemic events (arterial blockages). This means that you are getting many benefits by taking a single herb! Although we often prescribe this herb for high blood pressure we are also helping to support your whole cardiovascular system at the same time. This is why I love using herbal medicine as a treatment for my patients!

Treating high blood pressure, eating a heart healthy diet and moving your body are so important for long term cardiovascular health. As a naturopathic doctor I can work with you to establish the foundations for long term health, taking into account your individual risk factors and lifestyle choices. Cardiovascular health not your only concern? We also take pride in offering individualized treatment plans that address you as a whole person.

Resources:Wang, J., Xiong, X., & Feng, B. (2013). Effect of Crataegus Usage in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: An Evidence-Based Approach. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2013, 1-16. doi:10.1155/2013/149363